A nationwide survey of temporary visa holders has revealed the devastating impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on those who moved to Australia to work and study – with many becoming homeless and forced to skip meals.

Conducted by Unions NSW between March and May and released on Monday, it found 65 per cent of respondents had lost their job (60 per cent for international students) and 39 per cent didn’t have enough money to cover basic living expenses.

Thirty-four per cent were already homeless or close to being evicted because they couldn’t pay rent and 23 per cent were sharing a bedroom to reduce costs (26 per cent for international students).

A worrying 43 per cent said they were also forced to skip meals on a regular basis (46 per cent for international students).

“Without support, we are driving them not only into poverty but into exploitation,” secretary for Unions NSW Mark Morey said.

“You’ve been encouraged you to come here, you’ve paid your taxes, you can’t go home and so we’re just going to abandon you? That’s not what a country like Australia does, that’s not our values.”